Nothing is more heartbreaking than the death of a child, no matter what age they were at the time of their departure. Writing a eulogy for a young person can be a hard task, especially if one was close to this individual. Preparing what to say in advance can make the job of writing and delivering a eulogy a little easier when one’s mind is clouded with grief and anxiety.
Here are some tips on how to write a eulogy for a child:
- Take your time. The death of a child can cause many mixed emotions. Gather your thoughts about the child and how you are feeling.
- Get tips from people you know who have written a eulogy in the past.
- To aid with eulogy writing, gather facts about the child to think of a main theme for the eulogy. Remember personal stories you may like to share. Let others know what made the child truly happy. What will you remember most about the young person? What were their passions? Mention special achievements. Did the young person have a special motto or any particular values? Get stories from others to include in the eulogy. Remember the point of a eulogy is to memorialize the person who has died and to celebrate his or her life.
- Stories to stay away from include those that shed a negative light on the child, stories that may be embarrassing, and stories that may bring more sadness.
- Keep it simple. Big words are not necessary. Neither are great philosophical insights. Remember you are eulogizing a child. Speak in a manner that would be understandable to a child.
- If you are finding it hard to think of what to say, use other resources available. It is easier than ever to create a slideshow of pictures on a computer that can be projected. Share video clips, too, if appropriate.
- Be organized:
- Introduce yourself and let others know how you are connected to the child. Have an introduction that will discuss the main theme of the eulogy in a way that is personal. Use something that would get the listeners’ attention: a poem, the child’s favorite song, part of the child’s favorite story, or even a short story about the child.
- The middle part of the eulogy should be about stories that support the main theme you are stating about the child. For example, if the main theme of the eulogy is about how courageous the child was, share stories about times the child demonstrated bravery. Also mention family ties: speak about how much the parents or guardians and siblings meant to the child.
- The conclusion of the eulogy would be a good time to summarize what was said, to make honoring judgments, and to restate the main theme. The conclusion will remind those who attended how much the child meant to you in a way that is short and simple. Using the example of the brave child, one may conclude by stating the courage the child demonstrated never lacked—whether it was facing the first day of school or facing their disease, this child faced the world the way a prince would face a dragon.
- Try to keep the eulogy’s length under 10 minutes.
- When you are ready to write the eulogy: use a large font if it is being typed or print large letters if it is being written by hand.
- Use notes while delivering the funeral eulogy. These will help you if you are at a loss for words. Give a copy of these notes to a person who is willing to deliver the eulogy should you become too overwhelmed with grief and emotion.
- Practice reading the eulogy out loud and have somebody read a copy when it is on paper. They can help edit the eulogy and make sure the correct things are being said.
Writing a eulogy for a child is an honor and a great way to help others know who this young person really was and why they were special. This is not only a way for you to deal with your own grief, but can also help others deal with theirs.
~Flora Richards-Gustafson, 2009